Nothing Changes on New Year's Day? New Tool Seeks Out the Surprise Dates

It's not a question of if Year 2000 errors will strike systems, but exactly when. Errors may not pop up on January 1, 2000, but rather, at the moment in which an application starts to process Year 2000 dates. Each application can have many date fields, and since each date field stores different values, there will be many different moments in time when applications process Y2K dates.

That's why HAL (Markham, Ontario) recently launched Radar2000 for AS/400, a Y2K monitor that helps AS/400 shops discover when and where Y2K dates will impact their business. By monitoring databases and highlighting areas of risk, Radar2000 helps reduce Y2K exposures. HAL is original developer of IBM's Bypass2000 and Search2000 tools.

Radar2000 presents reports in both 5250 and PC-based GUI formats. The tool will "alert users as to when a date field will cross the Year 2000 border line," says Michele Martiradonna, project manager for HAL North America. "For each separate date field, it will tell the company when it's likely to cross or it's going to enter the Year 2000."

By mapping together moments of impact, Radar2000 obtains the time horizon of events for applications. Awareness of these time horizons can help managers determine which programs will process Y2K dates first, and will enable them to build contingency plans for recovery in case of malfunction. Analyzing the time horizon of applications can assist the planning of replacement or remediation of non-compliant programs at the right time.

HAL Radar2000 for AS/400 performs an automated analysis of time horizon of events, regardless of type of Y2K fix a company has implemented. "It's good for customers that didn't convert their applications, it's a like a planning tool, it can give you an idea of how long until you convert. It's also good for companies that have converted, because you never know if there's still bugs in your software."

"The problem with Year 2000 is not January 1st, it's also the time when the application starts processing Year 2000 dates," Martiradonna says. "You have to keep on watching out for any possible glitches." He likens the challenge to a military force awaiting an invasion -- if the time and place of the attack are known, resources can be focused on that spot.